Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 6, NO. 8 / DECEMBER 1987




Display Print Shop icons online

Iconverts any PrintShop icon directly to ATASCII graphics characters. This opens up a whole new treasure trove of online art for Atari bulletin boards. The BASIC program works on 8-bit Atari computers with at least 48K memory and disk drive.

Now you can translate your Print Shop images into Graphics 0 screens--standard ATASCII character graphics. This opens up a whole new source of flashy display screens for Atari bulletin board system operators who are always hungry for good visuals.

Iconverter translates any image from Broderbund Software's Print Shop directly to ATASCII graphics characters. Then it's a snap to load the ATASCII file into any word processor for editing and save the finished file to disk.

NOTE: Iconverter images are for printing to your screen, not your printer. In a way this program accomplishes the reverse of ASCII Art Converter (Antic, July 1987) which translates online "character art" into the standard Atari graphics formats for high-resolution printouts and screen displays.

You can use the vast library of icons and other visuals available on Print Shop data disks--both the official Broderbund products and public domain images. Or you can create your own pictures with the Print Shop Editor module.

Iconverter can also handle high-resolution screens produced with graphics editors such as Micro-Painter, Micro Illustrator and RAMbrandt--even ComputerEyes digitized pictures. These just need to be processed by conversion programs such as Graphic Shop (The Catalog, $19.95, AP0156), or XLEnt Software's Print Shop Interface which translates the company's Typesetter images to Print Shop Format.

If you've ever tried to create anything recognizable with the 8-bit Atari special graphics character set in ROM, you know how tedious and frustrating that can be. While there are plenty of graphics editors which enable you to create spectacular graphics in bit-mapped modes, there has been little help with text modes--until Iconverter.


When converting a Print Shop icon, Iconverter clips four pixels from each side of the image--because the resolution of a Print Shop icon is 88 pixels across. Given that a Print Shop Graphics 0 block is two pixels wide by two pixels tall, we can convert 80 Print Shop columns to fit on a 40-column Graphics 0 screen. So when drawing with the Print Shop Editor module, just center your image and avoid the edges.

Also, 38-column word processors clip the right edge even more. However, the full height of your image wilI be converted, even though only 24 rows fit on a Graphics 0 screen. You can view those unseen lines by using the up and down [ARROW] keys while in the Graphics 0 preview mode.

You can also compress a TypeSetter icon or hi-res screen into a Print Shop icon. There will be a loss of resolution, of course, but the image will still be recognizable. High-contrast pictures work best.

Another idea is to use the text option in the Print Shop Editor module to create oversized text and titles by typing onto an icon. These look great in a bulletin board scroll or inserted into your own program. Typing on an icon using an 8 x8 character set will yield a usable 40-column line of 10 oversized characters--nine characters if your word processor shears fewer than 40 columns.


Type in Listing 1, ICONVERT.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN it.

If you have trouble typing the special characters in lines 1950-1970 and 2030, don't type them in. Listing 2 will create these lines for you. Type in Listing 2, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy. When you RUN Listing 2, it creates those hard-to-type lines and stores them in a disk file called LINES.LST.

To merge the two programs on disk, LOAD "D:ICONVERT.BAS" and then ENTER "D:LINES.LST". Remember to SAVE the completed program before you RUN it.

At the prompt, enter the filename of the icon you want to load, and Iconverter will display the image and clip the edges. To shift the icon, you must go back to your Print Shop Editor.

Press [RETURN] to start converting. You can watch the progress line to the left as it works its way down the icon. This takes about 70 seconds.

When the conversion is done, Iconverter displays the new image in Graphics 0. You can toggle the prompt window on and off by pressing the [SPACEBAR]. To save the image as an ATASCII file on drive 1, press [RETURN]. You will be prompted for a new filename.

Now you can load the character art file into your word processor to touch it up or add text.

Jim Johnson is employed by Dupont in Seaford, Delaware and is secretary-treasurer of GAUGES (Greatest Atari Users Group on the Eastem Seaboard).

Listing:ICONVERT.BAS Download